We also advertise with well-known Rental Sites such as Home Away/Owners Direct and Holiday Lettings/Trip Advisor. These sites provide an excellent showcase for the property and they also publish a very good Availability Calendar but you need to be aware of their Service Fees.
We have used them both since 2007 but this year (2018) they changed their business models. Previously the Owner paid an annual fee which covered everything but now, all contracts are on a “Pay per Booking” basis and in simple terms, the Guest pays all the fees, which can be considerable. Being the first season with this system, we haven’t quite worked out all the finer points so we recommend you check with them at the start.
They both take Credit Card Bookings and hold the Rental Deposit on our behalf, which does provide an extra layer of “security” for you but having said that, we have been renting Villa Pegada for a long time now and would like to think we are reliable enough!
More about their hidden charges ….
Home Away adds a “service fee” of between 6-12%, payable to them at the time of booking. We don’t know the breakdown for this since we have no input.
They also add a compulsory travel insurance charge, which costs you, the Guest, an extra 6%. It is a situation we are not happy with although we recognise it might suit some people. If you already have some other kind of long-term cover, this is simply “money down the drain”.
Owners are prevented from making direct contact with the guest until the booking has been secured, ie we do not have access to your phone number and email address until then, and vice versa. Similarly, they encourage Guests to use their Booking Control Panel for all correspondence with the Owner.
This what TA say on their site: “The booking fee is a percentage of the total rental cost (not including refundable damage deposits or taxes applied by the owner). The fee is variable and ranges from 8% to 16% for the majority of bookings, but can be slightly lower in some cases.”
We hope to get more information in a week or two, but at least they do not impose a Compulsory Travel Insurance Fee.
What we say
They are increasing their annual fees to us by more than 25% and tell us that unless we switch, our ads will go to the bottom of their list, so we have very little choice. Since we have no influence over these fees, their attitude would appear to be “take it or leave it”.
When it comes to payment protection, with Home Away Insurance you should receive compensation for cancellations etc from them but with Trip Advisor, they simply rely on our cancellation policy.
As far as communication is concerned, this can cause problems for us since Roger normally manages the bookings and Angie manages all the day to day issues. Guests are encouraged by the Sites to conduct all communications through them, which they forward to us … but messages sent this way sometimes go astray. We would prefer that everything gets sent to us via normal email or, once you have arrived, by phone to Angie.
If you find this site first, you can make an informed decision, otherwise, you just have to conform. We have owned this Villa since new (2007) and renting ever since. What more can we say!